After graduating from Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) with an MSc in Mathematical Trading and Finance in 2010, Aloysius Yongbi Fontama has set up his own investment management company A&F Capital Advisors which has recently joined the UK Government Kickstarter scheme and will be working with 8 young people to help them acquire employability skills on a 6–month paid contract. He is an Equity Portfolio & Fund Manager at A & F Capital, managing investment portfolio for high net worth clients and runs A & F Investment Club for DIY with over 100 members. Aloysius also won an award in 2020 as “Inspirational Person of the Year” from Career Nuggets and recently published a book aiming to educate the average person about the stock market. We spoke with Aloysius about his time at Bayes and how this has impacted the rest of his career.
Could you tell me a bit about your time at Bayes Business School?
I enrolled for the MSc in Mathematical Trading and Finance at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) in 2006/2007 academic year, following my decision to switch to a career in Investment Banking. My time at Bayes was very challenging but rewarding. It was challenging because I had to combine a full-time job alongside a very rigorous course in Quantitative Finance and Financial Engineering. It was a combination of 3 hours of lectures twice weekly, in the evening, with coursework and 3 hours of examinations for each module, alongside workshops and training programmes such as Bloomberg Trading room sessions.
What stands out most for me was the highly quantitative nature of the course and the fact that all lecturers were experts in their field. Also, more than 80% of my classmates were already in the industry – ranging from traders, financial engineers and quants. Hence, the environment was a perfect fit for me to acquire practical and theoretical experiences from both lecturers and classmates as someone new to the field. On reflection, after years of experience in the investment industry, I believe the course structure, content and experience at Bayes is the best for anyone preparing for a career switch or young person planning for a career in investment banking and/or financial services. It gives students the opportunity to acquire an abundance of employable skills.
How did you come to set up your own investment management company?
I was inspired by the lifestyle of my mentor who had a stock brokerage company after a successful career as an equity trader with JP Morgan. Therefore, I decided to follow a similar career path of becoming a trader and set up my own company too. But this required a career switch and the right skillset. I enrolled for the MTF programme with the hope of gaining trading skills for a career as a trader in investment banking.
How did your course at Bayes assist you with your career to date?
My course, MSc Mathematical Trading and Finance, played a critical role in my career. I realised from employer’s comments during interviews that the depth and breadth of the course is highly regarded by employers in the financial/investment banking sector. I remember the Head of Trading Floor at HSBC Asset Management saying to me during our interview over the phone that “I am very impressed with the content of your Masters training programme that is why I thought I should offer you an interview”.
The knowledge gained from the programme also facilitated the process of writing up my 5-star rated investment book on Amazon – How to invest in the stock market for the first time and make money which has sold over 2000 copies so far, with 80 reviews to date.
You have recently published a book which aims to teach people about the stock market, could you tell us a bit about the book and how this came about?
Firstly, with over 10 years experience of trading in the stock market since 2009, I realised learning how to invest is an essential life skill. I realised during this period that most individuals, especially from disadvantaged background, don’t have the knowledge and skillset in regard to what stocks/bonds are etc, how to invest in them, what to invest in and the best brokers to use. Therefore, due to my passion to ‘level the playing field’, I thought the first step was to share my experience and knowledge to educate the lay person about how they can make money in the stock market.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far? What has been the most rewarding part?
Most challenging part: After my studies at Bayes in 2009, I searched for a suitable job in investment banking/financial services for more than 2 years; partly due to the impact of the global crisis which hit the financial/investment industry at that time. I attended interviews at almost every investment bank within the City of London during this 2-year period.
Most Rewarding: Investing in my education for the MTF programme at Bayes Business School and continuous personal development in my areas of interest (investment and education). It has opened the doors to many opportunities directly and indirectly, the benefits have grown exponentially since.
Do you have any advice for anyone who might want to follow in your footsteps?
Regarding career, I would say:
- Find a career you are passionate about and aim to become the best in your field.
- A combination of personal development, practical experience and willingness to learn would help you become the best in your field.
- If you have not found your passion, take up job opportunities whether it is related to your area of study/interest or not, because any job experience in life adds up and it takes you one step forward towards your goal in terms of gaining employable skills whilst earning money. Even if it is voluntary role, take it!
- Sometimes work experience can lead you to discover your passion and the career you would like to pursue. For example, my volunteering role for 9 months at Principal Capital Advisors laid the foundation for permanent and paid roles at Deutsche Bank and TD Securities. At TD Securities, the experience of providing IT training to other staff helped me to identify another passion of mine – teaching and training people. This laid the foundation to set up my Tutoring and education consulting business A and F Tutors. You can find out more about how to identify your passion in my apprenticeship book on Amazon – How to secure an apprenticeship in line with your passion and skills.
- Prioritise personal development by reading books and newspapers linked to your career interest and passion.
- Work very hard, persevere in anything you are trying to achieve, be patient, “stay hungry and stay foolish”.
- No matter how challenging life or your journey towards your goal – never give up! “Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination”.